This is what the Lord asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:1
Humility overcomes the pride that makes us think a little too highly of ourselves. With humility we see ourselves as we are in the eyes of God. It’s tough to do because we’re at the same time pathetic failures and more glorious than we can imagine. It involves one of those delicious paradoxes that show life this side of heaven to be always unfinished, unresolved, mysterious. G. K. Chesterton asked, “Which of us has his wish in this world, or, having it, is satisfied?”
There’s nothing like an eclipse of the sun to dim our pride. The ancients, who had guilty consciences too, assumed God was mad at them. We can “explain” an eclipse, but it still gives us pause to realize that the very light we see the world by and grow our crops by is not under our control.
I thought a lot about pride and humility this past week as I saw some running over people they didn’t like and others bringing down statues of people they didn’t like. Is bringing down a man of bronze the same as bringing down a man of flesh? No. But the motive starts in the same place: lack of humility. That is, thinking too highly of the excellence we have brought to our actions. I recognized it because I see it in myself.
We need the light of Christ to make up for the eclipse of our reason when we’re tempted to self-righteously look down on others.
What I recognized in them, and in me, was wanting to call someone else all-wrong so I can be all-right. How convenient—except, I’m not all-right.
Humility frees us to condemn sin without taking someone else’s sin personally. They is us. I pray that the evil in my own heart will not eclipse seeing myself and others as they are: children of God who are sometimes very flawed and in need of my prayers. And I’ve noticed that the things we get maddest about in other people are flaws we have ourselves.
But there is hope. We’ve got the rest of our lives, starting now, to speak the truth and act on that truth in love.
If you want peace, work for justice. Pope Paul VI
We want to be all-right because that is our destiny—to be one with the God who is Truth. Today, we can work toward that as we wait for heaven, where there will be no more eclipse of the sun, or of our vision.